Library News

Meet Evie Cordell, Our *First* First Year Experience Librarian!

In May, Snell Library welcomed our first-ever First Year Experience and Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, Evie Cordell. Evie works with the First Year Writing Program, General Studies Program, Explore Northeastern, and many other programs that support first year students at Northeastern. Over the course of the summer and these first weeks of fall, Evie has organized library tours, welcome sessions, and scavenger hunts. If you’re a new student in the College of Engineering, you’ve probably met Evie as part of your library research workshop. Evie is a graduate of the University of Virginia (BA, Religious Studies), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MA in Library and Information Science). She’s mom to five kids, author of the children’s book Two Girls Want a Puppy, and speaks German pretty fluently. Say hello to Evie at the Research Help desk in the lobby of Snell Library--if you haven’t already met her at a library orientation! You can follow Evie on Twitter at eviedc or email her at e.cordell@northeastern.edu. Why did you decide to become a librarian? I became a librarian because I like helping people find information. I believe that everyone has the right to access information reguardless of race, religion, or economic standing. I believe that libraries and librarians hold unique positions in our society to not only ensure that people have access to information but to also level the playing field. Plus librarians are the coolest. Seriously, I get to wear funky outfits and I get to teach students about the library and how to use its resources. Librarians don’t know everything but we can find almost everything. What’s been the most fun for you as you get to know Snell Library and Northeastern’s undergraduates? I have really enjoyed getting to work with not only the first years in the various programs I work with but also getting to know the professors, instructors, and TAs. I’ve also had many second years that have done the library orientation, whether they were in person or scavenger hunts, tell me that they didn’t know about half the services Snell Library offers. I’m glad that I get to teach them something new. What’s the most important thing new students need to know about the library? Come talk to the librarians. Visit us at the Research Help Desk. Make appointments with us. We’re here to help you. You’re probably already in the library why not use the services we have. Bonus if you come talk to me I always have candy at my desk also those elusive Snell Library Husky stickers.

Northeastern University Library Receives Two National Endowment for the Humanities Grants

August 8th, 2018 – The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Northeastern University Library a $500,000 Infrastructure and Capacity-Building Challenge Grant. The funded project – Research Infrastructure for Digital Scholarship - will further propel Northeastern’s commitment to digital scholarship, the synthesis of archival materials and data, and experiential education. This challenge grant will expand the Library’s technical capacity through the creation of four new staff positions to undertake technical development, data design, and semantic data integration.

Northeastern University Library also received $197,000 from the NEH’s Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities program to support “Word Vectors for the Thoughtful Humanist: Institutes on Critical Teaching and Research with Vector Space Models”, a series of four three-day institutes that will explore the use of word embedding models for textual analysis.

Formed in 2013, The Library's Digital Scholarship Group has undertaken several important digital humanities projects, including Design for Diversity, Our Marathon, TAPAS, and the Women Writers Project. This challenge grant will continue to support these projects, as well as provide support for the recently announced Boston Research Center, which will be housed in Snell Library. The director of the Digital Scholarship Group, Julia Flanders, will provide leadership on both grants, and Sarah Connell is a co-director on the “Word Vectors” grant.

“In many ways these grants recognize and reward the great progress we’ve made over the past five years in establishing the Library as a significant research partner in the digital humanities at Northeastern, and affirm Northeastern’s status as a leader in this space” states Patrick Yott, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies and Services.

“We deeply appreciate this major support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and are truly excited about the additional projects and overall capacity this funding will underwrite in the Library and across Northeastern,” said Dan Cohen, the Dean of the Libraries.

How one prolific Wikipedian is giving voice to pre-20th century women’s stories

This post was written by Cassidy Villeneuve on March 28th, 2018 and originally published on wikiedu.org As part of Women’s History Month, we’re looking at how our programs are helping to close Wikipedia’s gender gap. So far, we’ve featured work by students in our Classroom Program, who have improved Wikipedia’s coverage of women directorswomen in STEMwomen in academia, and more.
Visiting Scholar Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight. File:Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight.jpgVGrigas (WMF), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. 
This week, we’re profiling Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, a prolific Wikipedian and a participant in our Visiting Scholars program, a program in which Wikipedians receive access to academic sources they wouldn’t otherwise be able to use. During her years as a Wikipedian, Rosie has created and improved thousands of articles and has uploaded hundreds of images to Wikimedia Commons. She has also co-founded projects like Women in Red, an on-Wikipedia group dedicated to increasing the site’s coverage of women and women’s history, and the Teahouse, a project to welcome newbies into the editing community. In 2016, she was named Wikipedian of the Year, along with Emily Temple-Wood, for her efforts to improve the world’s most popular online encyclopedic resource. When Rosie joined our Visiting Scholars program, she gained access to a number of new sources through Northeastern University. This new access to previously restricted materials “adds another dimension” to Rosie’s workflow, she tells us in an interview about what she’s accomplished through the position. Rosie has already made impressive progress since March of last year, as seen on the Dashboard. Through the position, Rosie is focusing on improving biographies of pre-20th century women writers in the English language (with the definition of “writer” broadly construed). At this point in her Visiting Scholars experience, Rosie has created 194 new articles on Wikipedia, most of which are biographies of these pre-20th century women, and has added nearly 500,000 words. She estimates that in all of her time as a Wikipedian, she has created hundreds of biography articles of women. So what motivates Rosie to dedicate valuable time and energy to improving this resource that we all use? As Rosie explains, it all starts with one woman: her maternal grandmother, a textbook editor in Serbia and co-founder and president of the Yugoslav Association of University Women. She wrote for a living and published a number of monographs, essays, translations, and books throughout her life. In a similar vein, Rosie’s mother was a poet who earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Barnard and spent time in Columbia’s journalism school. These women writers had a significant impact on Rosie and their stories have been an impetus for her journey into public scholarship. <br< Rosie’s motivation for improving Wikipedia’s coverage of women’s history is a personal one, and so it’s not surprising that she has personally connected with stories of women she has written about. When asked about particular articles that have been most meaningful to her, Rosie points to the life of Deolinda Rodríguez de Almeida. Deolinda is considered the mother of the Angolan revolution. She was an avid writer, translator, poet, and teacher. She dedicated her life to the Angolan Independence movement, and was tortured and killed for her involvement. “She was so bound to her cause, to her people,” Rosie remarks. “She traveled from Angola, she was in Brazil, she corresponded with Martin Luther King, Jr. She touched my heart. And to know that the last days of her life were so wronged just — she just sticks with me.”
Eunice Eloisae Gibbs Allyn, who has a biography article on Wikipedia thanks to Rosie. File:Eunice Eloisae Gibbs Allyn.png, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
“Many of the women, their lives are important to me,” Rosie tells us. Eunice Eloisae Gibbs Allyn is another example; she was forced to write under a pen name (as were many women writers of this time) because her brother didn’t want to have a “bluestocking” in the family. By representing the lives and accomplishments of these women writers for Wikipedia’s worldwide audience, Rosie honors their names. While they were silenced in the past, we are not silent about them now. “Jane Doe, you deserve this,” Rosie says about the importance of writing these biography articles, “I know I can do it, and if I don’t do it, I don’t know who else is gonna do it.” There is an element of leadership inherent in the active Wikipedian role. Wikipedia encourages volunteers to “Be bold!” in their editing. And the site’s open-source nature puts the responsibility of maintaining its quality on volunteers. Part of what makes Wikipedia one of the most successful crowd-sourced knowledge projects to date is the avid commitment of editors like Rosie. Wikipedians rally to uphold Wikipedia’s purpose of benefiting readers everywhere by being the most comprehensive and accessible encyclopedia ever written. We’re proud to support dedicated Wikipedia editors like Rosie through our Visiting Scholars program. We look forward to following the impact that Rosie continues to make on the valuable resource that is Wikipedia.

FayFoto archive acquired by Northeastern University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections

A leading provider of commercial photography in the greater Boston area for over 80 years, FayFoto Boston provides photographs on assignment for corporate, business, and non-profit clients. The archive consists of over 7.5 million negatives from 1963 to 2006.   [caption id="attachment_274581" align="alignleft" width="260"] Daniel Lavoie, Collections Archivist, inspects the FayFoto archive before its move to Snell Library.[/caption] Steve Nelson, Partner at FayFoto Boston is excited that Northeastern University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections agreed to preserve the collection. “FayFoto amassed tens of thousands of images over the course of many decades of providing photography to Boston's business and political communities” states Nelson. “As current owners of the business, we were acutely aware of two things: we weren't going to be able to care for the archive properly, and we lacked the resources and training to make this collection available to historians and other interested parties.”  

The photographs in the collection cover a wide range of subjects, including business head shots, architectural interiors and exteriors, corporate event coverage, industrial photography, and product still life. Though the collection primarily consists of historical Boston business photography, it also has a broader local and national historical significance including celebrities, politicians, events, and aerial photography.

 

[caption id="attachment_274582" align="alignleft" width="167"] John and Jackie Kennedy at a Hyannis Legislature party. From the FayFoto collection.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_274579" align="alignleft" width="167"] Aerial photograph of Boston, 1960. From the FayFoto collection.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_274580" align="alignleft" width="166"] Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. From the FayFoto collection.[/caption]             “The FayFoto collection is an amazing pictorial ‘who’s who’ of Greater Boston businesses and government" notes Daniel Lavoie, Collections Archivist at Northeastern University. “The addition of this collection and the Boston Globe archive positions Northeastern as a leading repository for the photographic history of Greater Boston.” Northeastern University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections plan on digitizing the collection, making it a valuable asset for the Boston Research Center at Snell Library.                            

“We at FayFoto are proud of the part we have played in documenting Boston's history, but the value of this time capsule would be lost if it stayed in boxes in our studio” Nelson remarks. “We are grateful that the conservators at Northeastern's Snell Library agreed to undertake the significant effort required to preserve this unique resource and make it accessible to others.”

Library Dean visits Northeastern Alumni and Parents in Rome

May 27, 2018 Dan Cohen, Dean of Libraries, Vice Provost for Information and Collaboration, was welcomed by a dozen alumni and parents in Rome to enjoy lunch and conversation. This was the first gathering for the Northeastern University community in the area, expanding on our mission to engage globally. The unique innovative ecosystem at Northeastern University continues to be a catalyst for our global community of agile, creative thinkers. Guests enjoyed meeting Dan and each other with conversation ranging from digital media and technology to various successful initiatives and professions our alumni and parents experience. We look forward to continuing to evolve and strengthen the wonderful connections made in Italy!